"Vice" is heading into its second season on Showtime and reclaiming its coverage of international news -- not just news related to the coronavirus pandemic. That's a challenge, given the team is still working remotely and still has to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.
"Our risk assessment team is outstanding," executive producer Beverly Chase told TheWrap ahead of the second season's Sunday premiere. "Our teams all work very closely with the head of security to maintain rigorous safety protocols -- COVID safety protocols, specifically, now."
The second season of the Emmy-nominated news program requires more risk assessment than just navigating travel restrictions and administering COVID tests. As Chase explained, "This season will be reporting on the ground in Afghanistan, Nigeria, Yemen and Iran among various other countries and also covering a variety of very relevant domestic issues that we've been facing."
Chase spoke with TheWrap last year after "Vice" had to overhaul its first-season plans as the pandemic took hold in America. At the time, she said: "There's so much unknown. As we think about the stories that we want to tell in future seasons, it's really, really hard to -- what we've learned from this is that it's really hard to predict what's going to happen. I think we talked about starting to develop stories and we tried to think forward -- you know, in 12 months -- and nobody knows what the world is gonna look like, so we don't know what the long-lasting impacts of COVID are going to be."
There are still a lot of unknowns for the "Vice" team and everyone else, too. Chase told TheWrap the show is still being produced remotely, as it has been almost the entire time it's been in production.
Still, she's optimistic about the future, at least when it comes to the coronavirus and its impact on the show and the stories the show wants to tell -- which include the stories of other forces impacting production.
"Vice" premieres its second season on Showtime Sunday at 8 p.m. ET with an episode that sees Vice News' Hind Hassan venturing inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan to speak with Taliban fighters about what their lives in the extremist movement look like.
"Now that the world is starting to open up a little bit more, we're able to be boots-on-the-ground in more areas," Chase told TheWrap. "That said, it's important to really understand that it's very challenging to work in the places that we do in Yemen and Nigeria, and even in the U.S., given the political climate. While access has been a challenge because of COVID, it's also been challenging because there are many governments around the world that are attempting to shut down the free press."